Monitoring Female Fertility Through ‘Femtech’: The Need For A Whole-System Approach To Regulation

30 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2021

See all articles by Catriona McMillan

Catriona McMillan

University of Edinburgh School of Law

Date Written: October 13, 2021


Concurrent with the rise of digital health and personal health tracking technologies, a market has also emerged of products targeted specifically at women: ‘femtech’. This paper is motivated by the concern that insufficient regulatory attention has been devoted to this growing market, and that extant ambiguity in the regulation of femtech leaves its users at risk of relying on technologies of as-yet unproven worth. It is posited that femtech profoundly disrupts well-established regulatory mechanisms of protection in ways that means that these silos of protection will not be adequate. This is because regulation as it is currently constructed is insufficiently sensitive to feminist perspectives regarding what these technologies mean for women. As a result, the regulatory sphere in which femtech operates fundamentally fails to ensure that the health and safety of femtech users are protected as this market continues to expand. To counteract this, the argument is made that an appropriate regulatory response to femtech must respond to the distinctive unmet need in the regulation of this technological realm and acute risk that femtech poses. This must include a multidimensional whole systems approach grounded in feminist perspectives on health, fertility and technology.

Funding Information: This research is funded by the British Academy.

Declaration of Interests: None to declare.

Keywords: femtech, whole-system regulation, self-surveillance, fertility, medical devices, data protection

Suggested Citation

McMillan, Catriona, Monitoring Female Fertility Through ‘Femtech’: The Need For A Whole-System Approach To Regulation (October 13, 2021). Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2021/21, Available at SSRN: or

Catriona McMillan (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh School of Law ( email )

Old College South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

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